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Evidence Based Leadership & Decision Making, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 820

Essay

In, Alden M. Hayashi’s, “When to Trust Your Gut,”  he opens by saying, “MANY TOP EXECUTIVES say they routinely make big decisions without relying on any logical analysis. Instead, they call upon their ‘intuition,’ ‘gut instinct,’ ‘hunches,” or “inner voice”—but they can’t describe the process much more than that (p169). What he means is that there is a subliminal connection between decision making and problems that need to be solved. This subliminal connection is a routine part of decision making for top executives, where most fail to see the connection or else lack the ability to tap into it. The key complexity with the idea of the ‘gut instinct’ of inspired decision making is that it appears to come from the sky, from a divine force, and few give the process credit for being a genuine form of evaluating actual data to extract a plausible solution.

Throughout the piece Hayashi referrers to the intuitive exploits of many top level corporate executives, such as Bob Lutz Executive Manager of Chrysler Automotives, that led him to create the concept for Chrysler’s Dodge Viper. He also talks about Robert Pittman Media Executive of AOL and the process he uses to extract value driven decisions from data. Pittman’s example is a perfect explanation for the ‘gut instinct’ process. The author says,“AOL’s Pittman couldn’t agree more. ‘Staring at market data is like looking at a jigsaw puzzle,’ he says. ‘You have to figure out what the picture is. What does it all mean? It’s not just a bunch of data. There’s a message in there.’ This is why Pittman routinely loads himself up with as much data as possible (p181).” Pittman’s use of his own mind borders on the technical. He literally has a technical use of his mind because he treats it like a computer where he can insert data and then he trust his mind to do the proper calculating and produce the best results. This type of decision making process believes that so long as one has complete faith in their mind’s ability to ‘cross index’ the material it absorbs, then the more data one exposes themselves to, the more likely will have informed decisions. The author goes to dive deeper into the concept of cross-indexing and the important role it plays in this form of decision making process.

Hayashi does not disregard the gambling nature, and psycho-social aspect of this type  of decision making top executives practice, but he does argue that there is a mechanical or technical tool in the works, which he refers to as cross-indexing. He says, “Truly inspired decisions, however, seem to require an even more sophisticated mechanism: cross-indexing. Indeed, the ability to see similar patterns in disparate fields is what elevates a person’s intuitive skills from good to sublime (Hayashi, p182).”  The use of the word sublime here is used in an almost religious tone; and yet, Hayashi is arguing that the act of cross-indexing is the fundamental process happening in the brain that gives the use of intuition both its mystic and power.  The ability to take numerous perspectives, and information and compile it into one database and extract a solution comprehensive of all its contributing factors is a process even the most advanced computers have trouble doing when human elements are involved. Hayashi mentions Lutz again as he explains the connection between diversity and how it influences the act of cross-indexing. Hayashi says, “Obviously, the power of cross-indexing increases with the amount of material that can be cross-indexed. Says, Lutz, “I find that in general management, people with varied and diverse backgrounds are, all other things being equal, going to probably be more valuable and will learn faster because they’ll recognize more patterns(Hayashi, p183) .” Here we see pattern recognition is a fundamental part of this type of analysis. In many cases this requires, open-minded, creative, abstract thinking that it’s hard for computers to emulate. This could be argued as the reason why top level executives can’t be replaced by computers, yet.

In sum, gut instinct is not awarded by divine right. The author demonstrates that at its core utilizing gut instinct effectively is simply the process of preparation meeting opportunity. The way he describes media executive Robert Pittman of AOL and his process for turning large amounts of data which he assesses subliminally on a broad scale and then narrows down into a specific finite decision is the perfect example of the gut decision making.  The way I will apply this to my own leadership and decision making skills in the future is to take a lesson from Lutz and surround myself with team members with the most diverse backgrounds. I will take an example from Pittman and trust my mind’s ability to process information. Most importantly I will take the risks necessary to make decisions based on my gut instincts.

Work Cited

Hayashi, Alden M. “When to Trust Your Gut.” The Harvard Business Review (2001): 169-87. Print.

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